I recently presented a half-day workshop for leadership and top sales people from Blue Cross Blue Shield. I was asked the same question I get asked quite often. “Why did you get out of advertising and into being a keynote speaker?” My honest answer is quite short and quite simple: “To help other people.”
When I wrote my first book, The Brand Who Cried Wolf, I drew on a philosophy that I had long advocated in my presentations, keynote speeches, corporate training programs, and consulting arrangements with major corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit groups around the world. I had developed that philosophy from my earliest days as an advertising and marketing professional, and it was based on a core value my parents taught me: respect for humanity. From that core value emerged related values about honesty and integrity. That core value also helped me to realize my purpose, which is to help people be successful in any endeavor by focusing on what matters most to them and what matters most to those they serve. That’s how my career’s trajectory moved in the direction of public speaking, where I could connect simultaneously with hundreds and sometimes thousands of individuals. To this day, nothing gets me more amped up than to engage a room or an auditorium full of people and show them the process for business success.
One of the reasons I love business—why I love what it stands for—is that it’s a way for people to express their values. I love that someone can have an idea and use passion and smarts and hard work to make a go of it. I’ve run my own business, sat on boards, and started an international organization with three other partners. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped take three companies to IPOs. The reason I’ve developed my business consulting services is because I believe in business, commerce, and capitalism. And I believe I have the right formula not only for helping new businesses get off the ground but also for helping people create lasting, meaningful organizations.
I have always had a strong sense of purpose in life, and I have tried to pursue it with the core values I have consciously lived for decades. I believe that today, more than ever, individuals and companies have the power to truly affect change, but too many of them are focused on policies and procedures instead of values and purpose. And without values and purpose, that power and that ability to influence too often goes to waste or even becomes destructive. If I can help individuals and entire organizations to work with purpose and passion, I am a happy man. The advertising business was a wonderful career, but it fell short in allowing me to truly engage and help those around me. And that is the reason why, as a keynote speaker, I Do What I Do.